Area firefighters were able to receive ice rescue training during a certification class held Saturday at Lake Storey.
About a dozen firefighters from East Galesburg, Knoxville, and Monmouth participated in the training.
Earlier in the day, the firefighters received information at the Galesburg Regional Fire Training Center, but moved the class out to the lake for the practicals portion of the class.
Appleton Fire Training Coordinator Steve Campbell tells WGIL that they remind the trainees that no ice is safe ice.
“It could be three or four inches over here and an inch over there,” says Campbell. “We let them understand the different formations of ice, we go through all the different safety procedures, we have our operations crew that takes care of the shoreline and mans the ropes, and that type of thing and stand here with EMS at the ready and we go through the evolutions.”
Two holes were cut into the ice at Lake Storey with a chain saw and the space was dedicated to teaching the firefighters self-rescue techniques as well as how to perform a “reach rescue” as well as a “going rescue.”
Co-Owner of Michigan Rescue Concepts Mark Hoskin tells WGIL that victims can improve their chances by staying calm.
“Grab the ice in front of them where they’ve just fallen in, go that same way because you know it’s ice that they came from,” says Hoskin. “Try to grab on, remain calm, and then slowly try to swim out of the hole.”
The ice and cold water rescue suits ranged in style, but has the properties necessary to insulate the emergency crews while allowing them to float. Trainees were largely concerned with putting the suits on correctly. Read the ice is part of ensuring that additional cracking does not take place.
Captain Sam Coombs tells WGIL they teach trainees there are techniques they can use with a victim in the water before getting in the water, themselves.
“You try not to get in and you want to talk to them, keep them calm, cause they want out and if you get in the wrong spot, they’re going to pull you under,” says Coombs.
In addition to a beginners class, an advanced class will also be available to provide training at night.